Study Tours 2020 - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Study Tours 2020

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Study Tours 2020


Art History Short Courses, Lectures and Tours 2020

Study Tours 2020

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and in order to safeguard the health and well-being of our staff and participants, The Courtauld has decided to postpone all Study Tours running up to June 2020.  Please see below for rescheduled dates. Bookings for Study Tours remain open.



For further details please contact us on:

+44 (0)20 3 9477 650

Short Courses
The Courtauld Institute of Art
Vernon Square
Penton Rise
London WC1X 9EW

You can also stay in touch with us on The Courtauld Gallery and Institute Facebook pages, and also on Twitter @CourtauldGall and @CourtauldStudy using the hashtag #AHShortCourses.

Our Study Tours offer the opportunity to spend time with an expert art historian, and like-minded enthusiasts, looking at works of art and architecture in their original settings.  In their choices of themes and locations, tours derive directly from our tutors’ current research interests. Tours take in relevant exhibitions in situ, or incorporate sites and monuments off the beaten track and sometimes those not usually accessible to the public.  In 2020, we offer explorations of:

  • The rich and varied art collections of Berlin and their role in the evolution of a German national identity
  • Aspects of Renaissance art, architecture and patronage in Mantua, Florence and Lucca
  • Avant-garde art tendencies in Munich, in Brussels and in Paris, and along the Côte d’Azur
  • The medieval architecture of Yorkshire

Our tutors provide first-rate scholarly content and an in-depth familiarity with their chosen destinations, while our small group sizes foster a climate of friendly social and intellectual exchange.

For the wider historical background to each study tour (something hard to teach in often busy urban environments) we add an element of contextualisation. This may take the form of relevant preliminary reading material on our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), of a seminar at The Courtauld, or, where possible, of a class-room session at a tour’s main destination.

Unless otherwise indicated [in due course in provisional itineraries], Study Tours start early in the morning of the first day, usually between 9.00 and 10.00 and end between lunchtime and 16.00 on the final day.  It is therefore advised that you arrive on the day before the tour starts.

Tour fees are: £285 for two days and £425 for three days.

The tour fee includes tuition, entry to all museums and sites, and transport (by train or where necessary, by coach) between destinations in the case of tours that visit more than one town or city. It does not include travel to and from the city/main destination of the tour, or accommodation: students are free to make their own arrangements.  Study Tours are limited to a maximum of 12 students.


All Study Tours include a good deal of walking and require a reasonable degree of physical fitness and mobility.  Please contact us if you have any doubts over your suitability to take part in any of the tours.

POSTPONED - Study Tour 1: In Search of a Nation: Art in Berlin
Monday 27 – Wednesday 29 April Monday 12 – Wednesday 14 October 2020
Dr Matthias Vollmer

The German capital Berlin possesses extraordinarily rich and varied collections of art and antiquities.   This Study tour offers an opportunity to sample many of the most outstanding works in Berlin, ranging from the late middle ages to the present day. Moreover, we shall discuss how the collection and display of these works were employed to foster a sense of a national cultural identity and how questions of a peculiarly ‘German’ style and artistic expression were intimately connected to the formation of the German nation state in the nineteenth century and to its development in the twentieth century and beyond.  We shall explore the question of the ‘Germanness’ of German art throughout the centuries by paying close attention to works by Martin Schongauer and Albrecht Dürer, Caspar David Friedrich and Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Adolph Menzel and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Otto Dix, Joseph Beuys and Anselm Kiefer, among others.  In the course of our tour, we will visit the Gemäldegalerie, Bodemuseum, Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlinische Galerie and the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum.

Dr Matthias Vollmer is Adjunct Professor at the Freie Universität Berlin European Studies Programme.  He studied History of Art, Philosophy and Orientalism at the Freie Universität Berlin and wrote his PhD thesis on medieval book illustration. Matthias teaches interdisciplinary seminars on medieval and Renaissance art, as well as courses on modern art at the Freie Universität Berlin, the Universität der Künste Berlin and the Universität Münster.  He currently researches the principles of visualisation in art and science.

POSTPONED - Study Tour 2: From Ghiberti to Cellini: Sculpture in Renaissance Florence
Monday 4 – Wednesday 6 May Monday 28 – Wednesday 30 September 2020
Dr Scott Nethersole

This study trip will examine sculpture produced in and for Florence between the opening years of the fifteenth century and the mid-sixteenth century. From the competition for the Baptistery doors in 1401 to the unveiling of Michelangelo’s enormous David in 1504, sculpture was often at the forefront of new developments in Florence art.  It was also often a public art, closely associated with the fabric of the city itself and new civic ideas which we often associate with the Renaissance.  Over three days, we shall examine the sculpture made for the Baptistery, Duomo, Orsanmichele and Piazza della Signoria.  We shall visit the national collection of sculpture at the Bargello and the Casa Buonarroti to examine two early works by Michelangelo, as well as various churches such as Santa Croce to see works that are still in situ.

Dr Scott Nethersole is Senior Lecturer in Italian Renaissance Art at The Courtauld, where he obtained his PhD and where he has lectured since 2010.  He curated the exhibition Devotion by Design; Italian Altarpieces before 1500 at the National Gallery in 2011.  Scott’s book Art and Violence in Early Renaissance Florence was published by Yale University Press in 2018, and his new book The Art of Renaissance Florence in January 2019.  His research interests have focused on the style and materials of sculpture, and on art destined for the home, in the Renaissance as well as in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

POSTPONED - Study Tour 3: Yorkshire Gothic
Monday 1 – Wednesday 3 June Tuesday 22 – Thursday 24 September 2020
Dr Tom Nickson

Enclosed by its medieval city walls, and straddling the River Ouse, York offers a compelling vision of an English medieval city, dominated by its great Minster. York serves as our base for two nights as we explore some of Yorkshire’s most stunning Gothic churches. Having glimpsed the city from its high medieval walls on the first day, we shall pass below the Minster’s floor to see traces of the Roman city and the great church built after the Norman Conquest. In the church above we can follow the expansion of the Minster through the Middle Ages, and the installation of its magnificent stained glass. The following day we take a coach to visit the great abbeys of Byland, Fountains and Rievaulx. Founded by Cistercian monks in the twelfth century, these developed into vast communities of monks and lay brothers, with a restrained yet highly sophisticated architecture. Targeted by Henry’s commissioners, these sites – now evocative ruins – have been cherished since the seventeenth century for their stunning settings and relationship with the landscape. We begin our final day by visiting one of York’s best-preserved late medieval parish churches, All Saint’s North Street, which still contains significant portions of its original stained glass. A coach then takes us to Beverley, where we shall visit the elegant early-Gothic Minster and the great parish church of St Mary, before returning home from Hull.

Dr Tom Nickson is Senior Lecturer in medieval art and architecture at The Courtauld. Having studied at Cambridge and The Courtauld, he subsequently taught at the University of York before returning to The Courtauld in 2012. He teaches widely on medieval art and architecture, and has led numerous trips for The Courtauld Study Tours and Martin Randall Travel. He has published extensively on art and architecture in medieval Spain, and in recent years has increasingly turned his attention to English material.

POSTPONED - Study Tour 4: Lucca at the Dawn of the Renaissance
Tuesday 9 – Thursday 11 June Tuesday 6 – Thursday 8 October 2020
Dr Geoff Nuttall

Although this Study Tour is now full, you may be interested in Dr Nuttall’s Summer School course Merchants of Luxury and Patrons of Art: Lucca at the Dawn of the Renaissance (Monday 13 – Friday 17 July).


For over 250 years, merchants from the small Tuscan city of Lucca dominated the production and sale of the luxury silks so coveted by the ruling houses of Europe. Their wealth made Lucca one of the most beautiful cities in Italy and it remains one of the best preserved (and pedestrian friendly). This tour focuses on the artistic legacy of the Lucchese silk merchants. Beginning with the construction of the cathedral in the twelfth century, we shall go on to explore their innovative patronage in the Renaissance, which saw the commission of masterpieces by the great Sienese sculptor Jacopo della Quercia, and of paintings by the Florentines Filippino Lippi and Fra Bartolomeo, as well as the building of the cathedral of San Martino and the church of San Frediano, artistic treasure houses both. We shall also visit the nearby Campo dei Miracoli in Pisa, Lucca’s cultural and political rival. In studying the history of the city and its art, we shall consider how Lucca’s relationship with Pisa and other Tuscan cities, and its merchants’ wide cultural horizons, influenced its sophisticated patronage. We shall question established art-historical labels, such as ‘International Gothic’ and ‘Renaissance’, traditional histories of art with their Florentine-centric approaches, and look at the relationship between artistic centres and peripheries with fresh eyes.

Dr Geoffrey Nuttall is an independent scholar specializing in early Renaissance Lucchese art and patronage. He teaches widely and is an experienced study tour leader to various Italian destinations. Geoffrey has published several articles on Lucca and is currently preparing the book of his Courtauld PhD thesis, Lucca at the Dawn of the Renaissance, as well as co-editing a book on Filippino Lippi.  He has held prestigious fellowships at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California (2014), at the Dutch Institute in Florence (2017), and in 2020 will be at the Cini Foundation in Venice to research the activities of the Lucchese in the Veneto around 1400.

POSTPONED - Study Tour 5: Under The Sun: Modern Artists on the French Riviera
Thursday 11 – Saturday 13 June Thursday 22 – Saturday 24 October 2020
Dr Caroline Levitt

The French Riviera was a particularly fertile region for artists at the start of the twentieth century. Matisse and Chagall, Picasso, Braque and Le Corbusier lived in and around Nice, and the Côte d’Azur bears testament to their productive creativity. On this three-day study tour, we shall think about the ways in which artists found particular freedom for their artistic practice in this region, and shall focus on the development of their ideas and techniques beyond painting and sculpture to incorporate architecture, mosaics, stained glass, ceramics and frescos. An intriguing side-theme will emerge: that of artists involved in designing and decorating chapels in the years following the Second World War. Visits will include the museums dedicated to Matisse and Chagall in Nice and to Picasso in Antibes; chapels decorated by Matisse and Picasso in Vence and Vallauris; the remarkable Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence; and ‘Cap Moderne’ at Roquebrune Cap-Martin, which includes Le Corbusier’s Cabanon and Eileen Gray and Jean Badovici’s Villa E-1027. We shall be based in Nice and travel by public transport. Please arrive in Nice by Wednesday evening, as we shall begin our visits together first thing on Thursday morning, finishing on Saturday afternoon.

Dr Caroline Levitt is a lecturer at The Courtauld, where she also heads the Graduate Diploma programme. She specialises in late nineteenth– and early twentieth–century French art and literature, with particular research interests in Surrealism, in relationships between text and image, and in artists working in media beyond easel painting – for example in tapestry, ceramics and stained glass. She has written various articles and contributed to books including The Art Museum (Phaidon: 2011) and Art in Time (Phaidon: 2014). Her current research project centres on artists who have owned books and drawn over them, situating this fascinating practice in the context of a broader history of the avant-garde.

Study Tour 6: Munich Moderns
Tuesday 8 – Thursday 10 September 2020
Dr Niccola Shearman, with Maria Mehlstӓubl-Truman

After 1900, the city of Munich rivalled Paris as a cosmopolitan hub of experiment. Here it was that Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, Gabriele Mϋnter and others developed an emotional expressionism, putting colour and form at the service of an ‘inner necessity’. This tour begins in the galleries of the Lenbachhaus: preserving the original interiors of late-nineteenth-century aesthetes, its celebrated collection of Blaue Reiter works presents the unfolding path towards abstract painting. The twentieth-century displays of the Pinakothek der Moderne complete the wider picture, from core Expressionists through the sober gaze of New Objectivity, to Nazi iconoclasm and its riposte in selected works post-1945. In the footsteps of the Expressionists’ pursuit of authenticity in art and life, we shall take a day-trip either to the stunning Buchheim Museum of Brücke paintings housed on the shores of Lake Starnberg, or to the village of Murnau, source of inspiration for artists of the Blaue Reiter. In contrast to the colourful history at the cradle of German modernism, the tour concludes by reflecting on events that led to Munich becoming the grave of so much potential energy. A visit to the Haus der Kunst – fascist temple to ‘Great German Art’ opened in 1938 as the vitriolic ‘Degenerate Art’ exhibition was staged nearby – will take us past architectural relics of Hitler’s sinister manipulation of culture.

NB. You may also be interested in Dr Shearman’s exploration of the art of Weimar Germany in week 1 of Summer School, 6-10 July.

Dr Niccola Shearman is a freelance lecturer in twentieth-century German and Austrian art. Currently completing a year of teaching full-time at the University of Manchester, she worked previously as Associate Lecturer at The Courtauld, where she gained her PhD on the modernist woodcut in Germany (2017).  In addition to a focus on print histories in Germany, her research interests include the psychology of vision, especially the work of Gestalt scientists in 1920s Berlin. Academic articles have concerned approaches to the woodcuts of Ernst Barlach and Lyonel Feininger, and religious themes in the work of Oskar Kokoschka. She writes regular book reviews and has translated a number of books.

Maria Mehlstäubl-Truman works in primary education, having previously completed degrees in anthropology and in interpreting and translation. As a true ‘Münchner Kindl’ with long family connections to the bohemian artists’ quarter of Schwabing, Maria combines a passion for art and literature with her experience of the rich oral history of the city. All of this makes her ideally qualified to be our personal guide for several short walking tours in Munich.

New: NOW FULL - Study Tour 7: The Renaissance in Mantua. Leon Battista Alberti, Andrea Mantegna, Giulio Romano and the Gonzaga
Thursday 24 – Saturday 26 September 2020
Dr Guido Rebecchini

We shall explore the town of Mantua, which during the rule of the Gonzaga family hosted one of the most splendid courts of the Italian Renaissance. Between the fifteenth and the early seventeenth centuries, some of the most renowned artists of the day, including Pisanello, Alberti, Mantegna, Correggio, Giulio Romano, Titian and Rubens contributed to decorate palaces and churches according to the latest trends and experimented with innovative solutions to suit the ever-changing needs of the Gonzaga family. Avid collectors and discerning patrons, Ludovico Gonzaga, Isabella d’Este, her son Federico and their successors commissioned paintings, frescoes and entire new buildings to update the small capital of their State and make it stand out as a centre of artistic innovation and splendour in the peninsula. We shall visit the Palazzo Ducale with the celebrated Camera degli Sposi by Mantegna, the Duomo in the theatrical Piazza Sordello, the grandiose church of Sant’Andrea by Alberti, the Palazzo di San Sebastiano with its collections of sculptures, Giulio Romano’s extraordinary Palazzo Te, and the little-known Palazzo d’Arco with its extraordinary fifteenth-century astrological decoration. We shall also venture outside the city,  – weather permitting by boat – , to visit the sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a fifteenth-century votive church with its unique devotional ornamentation.

N.B. A Summer School course by Dr Michael Douglas-Scott investigates the patronage of the Gonzaga family, alongside that of other rulers of Northern Italian courts (13-17 July).

Dr Guido Rebecchini read art history at “La sapienza” in Rome and obtained his PhD at the Warburg Institute in 2000. After teaching at the Università di Siena and New York University in Florence, in 2013 he was appointed Lecturer of Renaissance art at The Courtauld, where he is now Senior Lecturer. He has published extensively on the court of Mantua, on the Medici in Florence and on the Farnese papacy in Rome. He has co-curated the exhibition Giulio Romano: Art and Desire at the Palazzo Te in 2019-2020 and is working on two forthcoming exhibitions: one on Renaissance design (Palazzo Te, 2020) and one on Parmigianino (Getty Museum, 2022).

New: NOW FULL - Study Tour 8: Brussels, Capital of the Fin de Siècle
Friday 16 – Saturday 17 October 2020
Dr Rachel Sloan

Although this Study Tour is now full, you may be interested in Dr Sloan’s Summer School course Dreams and Nightmares: Symbolism in an International Context 1878-1910 (Monday 13 – Friday 17 July).

While we might be accustomed to thinking of Paris as ‘the capital of the nineteenth century’, Brussels can also make a fair claim to that title. A cauldron of creative ferment, and determinedly cosmopolitan in outlook, Brussels was a key hub for two interrelated artistic movements at the turn of the century: Symbolism – which sought to peel away external realities and search for deeper meaning by exploring the imagination, the emotions and states of mind – and Art Nouveau, which applied many of these concerns to architecture and the decorative arts. In the course of our trip we shall explore the Musée Fin de Siècle, with its rich holdings of Symbolist painting and sculpture by Belgian artists Fernand Khnopff, George Minne and Léon Spilliaert as well as the international artists who exhibited alongside them, such as Edward Burne-Jones, Auguste Rodin, and Paul Gauguin. The displays of Symbolist and Art Nouveau sculpture and decorative objects at the Musées Royaux d’Art et Histoire, including Jef Lambeaux’s extraordinary Pavillon des passions humaines, demonstrate the breakdown of traditional boundaries between the ‘fine’ and ‘applied’ arts. A visit to the Horta Museum and a walking tour of Art Nouveau buildings in the Saint-Gilles district will allow us a glimpse into the original settings in which patrons of both movements would have lived with their collections in an all-encompassing aesthetic environment.

N.B. You may also be interested in Dr Sloan’s exploration of Symbolism in week 2 (13-17 July) of Summer School.

Dr Rachel Sloan is Assistant Curator of Works on Paper at the Courtauld Gallery.  She earned her PhD from The Courtauld with a thesis on Symbolism and artistic exchange between France and Britain.  Rachel worked at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art before returning to The Courtauld in 2012.  Exhibitions she has curated at The Courtauld Gallery include Regarding Trees (2016) and A Dialogue with Nature: Romantic Landscapes from Britain and Germany and Master Prints from the Courtauld Collection (both 2014).

NOW FULL - Study Tour 9: Paris and the Russian Avant-garde
Monday 7 – Tuesday 8 December 2020
Dr Natalia Murray

This study trip will explore the fascinating interplay that existed between French and Russian art in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Although modern French art was undoubtedly a touchstone throughout the period, the variety of ways in which so many Russian artists, both men and women, succeeded in fusing it with the extraordinary wealth of their own cultural heritage, resulted in a wonderful flowering which changed the course of modern art. In the course of our trip we shall examine the influence of French art on artists who fell under its spell in Russia and Russian artists who worked together in the famous artists’ studio ‘La Ruche’ or studied at the Académie Julian or Marie Vassilieff’s Russian Art Academy in Paris. The highlights of our trip will include a guided tour by the grandson of Sergei Shchukin, André-Marc Delocque-Fourcaud, around Russian Paris; a visit to ‘La Ruche’ where Chagall created many of his masterpieces; and a visit to an exhibition of masterpieces of early twentieth-century Russian and French art from the collection of the Moscow philanthropists and collectors Mikhail and Ivan Morozov at the Fondation Louis Vuitton.

N.B. Dr Murray will also teach a Summer School course on Russian art in the period 1863-1932, from 20 – 24 July 2020.

Dr Natalia Murray gained a BA and MA in art history at the Academy of Fine Arts in St Petersburg, and a PhD at The Courtauld.  She is a writer, teacher and curator specialising in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Russian and Western European art and is the curator of the Royal Academy’s major exhibition Revolution. Russian Art 1917-1932 (2017).  Natalia is currently working on several new exhibition projects in Moscow and Paris, while also teaching as an Associate lecturer at The Courtauld.  She has published widely in her field; her most recent book, Art for the Workers: Proletarian Art and Festive Decorations of Petrograd 1917-1920 was published by Brill in May 2018.

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